When the Texans travel to Seattle this week, they’re going to try and do something that no AFC team has ever been able to do: Beat Russell Wilson in his own backyard.
Since being drafted by the Seahawks in 2012, Wilson has gone 11-0 against AFC teams in games played at CenturyLink Field. That undefeated record includes a win over Tom Brady in 2012, a win over Peyton Manning’s Broncos in 2014 and a win over Ben Spitsbergen’s Steelers in 2015. Basically, Wilson has matched up against the best teams that the AFC has had to offer and he’s come away victorious every time.
The fact that AFC teams struggle in Seattle isn’t completely shocking. After all, the Seahawks have one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL and when you’re in the AFC, you never quite get used to the craziness that comes with playing in Seattle because you only get to play their once every eight years.
Wilson and the Seahawks don’t have the only impressive streak going into Week 8. The Lions also have an impressive five-year bye streak going, which they’ll be putting on the line in their game against the Steelers.
Let’s get to the rest of the Week 8 odds.
NFL Week 8 early odds
Dolphins (4-2) at Ravens (3-4), Thursday
Opening line: Ravens, -3 points
The Dolphins offense has already been struggling this season and now they have to play on a short week without even knowing who their starting quarterback is going to be on Thursday. Jay Cutler (chest) was knocked out of Sunday’s game and if he can’t go against Baltimore, then Matt Moore will get the start for Miami. Since the beginning of last season, the Dolphins are 7-4-2 ATS coming off a win, which is the fifth-best mark in the NFL over that span. These two teams actually played last season in Baltimore with the Ravens covering as a 3.5-point favorite in a 38-6 win. If you’re not sure who to bet in this game, you might want to skip betting on a team and just want to bet the under. The Ravens and Dolphins have two of the lowest-scoring offenses in the NFL (18.6 points per game for Baltimore, 15.3 for Miami) and the O/U is currently sitting at 37.5.
Viking (5-2) vs. Browns (0-7) in London
Opening line: Vikings, -8.5 points
Part of the fun of this game is going to be trying to guess who the starting quarterback will be for each team. On the Browns’ end, DeShone Kizer got benched on Sunday for Cody Kessler and there’s a chance that coach Hue Jackson could stick with Kessler. On the Vikings’ end, coach Mike Zimmer could go with Sam Bradford over Case Keenum if Bradford is healthy enough to play, although for that to happen, his knee would have to survive a flight to London. If you’re thinking about betting Cleveland, here’s one thing to keep in mind: The Browns are 0-20 straight-up and 7-13 ATS in their past 20 games as an underdog of eight points or more. As for the Vikings, this is the most points they’ve been favored by since 2010. Also, Minnesota is an NFL-best 8-2 ATS against the AFC dating back to the beginning of the 2015 season.
Raiders (3-4) at Bills (4-2)
Opening line: Bills, -3 points
Believe it or not, the Bills have been the NFL’s best team at covering the spread this year. Through seven weeks, the Bills are 4-1-1 ATS, and they’ve been even better at home, going 2-0-1 ATS and 3-0 straight-up. If there’s one team that might not be fazed by the Bills’ home record, it’s the Raiders. Since the beginning of the 2015 season, the Raiders are 10-4 ATS as road underdog (8-6 straight-up), which is the best ATS mark of any team in the NFL over that span. These two teams played last season in Oakland with the Raiders covering as a 3-point favorite in a 38-24 win. Of course, that game was in Oakland, but this game will be in Buffalo, where the Raiders haven’t won since 2002. The Raiders will likely also be going into this game without Marshawn Lynch, who will be serving a one-game suspension unless he wins his appeal.
Colts (2-5) at Bengals (2-4)
Opening line: Bengals, -9.5 points
The Bengals aren’t big favorites often, but when they are, they tend to cover. Since the beginning of the 2012 season, the Bengals have been favored by seven or more points a total of 14 times and in those games they’ve gone 9-3-2 ATS and 12-1-1 straight-up. Of course, the Colts’ 27-0 loss on Sunday might make them the better bet. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, the Colts are 9-3 ATS coming off a loss, which is the fourth-best mark in the NFL over that span. These two teams haven’t faced each other since the playoffs following the 2014 season, and the Colts haven’t won in Cincinnati since 2005.
Chargers (3-4) at Patriots (5-2)
Opening line: Patriots, -5 points
When it comes to covering the spread, the Chargers have been the best road team in the NFL this year and they get to go up against a Patriots team that hasn’t been able to cover at home. Through seven weeks, the Chargers (2-0-1) and Texans (2-0) are the only teams unbeaten against the spread on the road while the Patriots are one of the NFL’s worst teams at home with an ATS mark of 1-3. Not to mention, the Chargers will be coming into this game as one of the NFL’s hottest teams. Over the past three weeks, they’ve gone 3-0 both straight up and ATS.
Falcons (3-3) at Jets (3-4)
Opening line: Falcons, -6.5 points
If the past three weeks are any indication, you might want to ahead and jump on the Jets bandwagon for this game. Although the Falcons have been beating up NFC teams this year (3-0), they haven’t been able to figure out how to beat any team from the AFC East. The Falcons are 0-3 both straight up and ATS in the three games they’ve played this year against teams from the Jets’ division. Since 2014, the Falcons have also been one of the NFL’s worst teams when it comes to covering against teams from the opposite conference. Atlanta is 4-12 ATS against the AFC over the past three years, which ranks 30th in the NFL over that span. Also, the Falcons are 1-6 straight up in their past seven games against the AFC East. As for the Jets, they’re 4-2-1 ATS this season, which ranks fourth in the NFL.
49ers (0-7) at Eagles (5-1)
Opening line: Eagles, -10.5 points
What happens when the team with the NFL’s best record hosts the NFC’s only winless team? You get the largest point spread of Week 8. This game marks the first time since 2014 that Eagles have been favored by double digits and it’s easy to see why. Not only are the 49ers 0-7, but they’ll likely be starting a rookie quarterback (C.J. Beathard) who will be making his first career start on the road. If this game goes as bad as his first career home start — a 40-10 loss to the Cowboys — the 49ers could be in trouble. The Eagles are undefeated against NFC teams this year (5-0) and have gone 4-1 ATS in those games. Of course, if you’re going to bet on the Eagles, here’s one thing to keep in mind: Philly is just 7-8 straight up and 5-10 ATS in the last 15 games where they were favored by seven or more points.
Bears (3-4) at Saints (4-2)
Opening line: Saints, -8.5 points
One of the worst bets in football over the past few years has been taking the Saints when they’re favored by a touchdown or more. Since the beginning of the 2014 season, the Saints have been favored by seven or more a total of seven times and they’ve gone an ugly 3-4 straight up and just 2-5 ATS. Not only will the Saints have to cover a large spread, but they’re going to have to do it against a Bears team that’s 5-2 ATS this year, which is tied for the second-best mark in the NFL. Of course, you might not want to bet against the Saints here because they’re one of the NFL’s hottest teams: Over the past four weeks, New Orleans is 4-0 both straight up and ATS. Plus, they’ll be playing a Bears team that hasn’t won in New Orleans since 1992.
Panthers (4-3) at Buccaneers (2-4)
Opening line: Buccaneers, -2.5 points
The Buccaneers are heading into this game on a three-game losing streak and a matchup with the Panthers might be exactly what they need to fix things. The Panthers have struggled against divisional opponents over the past season and a half. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, the Panthers are 1-6 ATS against NFC South teams, which is the worst divisional mark over that span. The Panthers are also 1-6 straight up in the time period, which includes two losses to the Buccaneers last season (with Tampa covering in both games). Of course, this doesn’t mean the Bucs are a lock to cover, and that’s mainly because they haven’t been very good at covering this season. The Bucs are just 1-4-1 ATS this year, which is the second-worst mark in the NFL. The Panthers have won six of the past eight games in this series.
Texans (3-3) at Seahawks (4-2)
Opening line: Seahawks, -5.5 points
Although the Seahawks have been unbeatable at home against AFC teams, Deshaun Watson might be the perfect quarterback to end that streak. After playing in two national title games at Clemson, Watson shouldn’t be fazed by all the crowd noise he hears in Seattle. Not to mention, the Texans offense could give the Seahawks fits. Over the past four weeks, the Texans have been the highest-scoring offense in the NFL with 39.3 points per game. In that span, they’ve gone 2-2 straight-up and 3-1 ATS, which includes a game where Houston covered as a huge road underdog (13.5 points) at New England. The Texans are 4-2 ATS this season, which is tied for the fourth-best mark in the NFL this year.
Cowboys (3-3) at Redskins (3-2)
Opening line: Pick’em
If there’s one team that Jay Gruden hasn’t really been able to figure out during his three and a half seasons as the Redskins coach, it’s the Cowboys. Since Week 17 of the 2015 season, the Redskins have lost four of five to the Cowboys and that only win came in a game where Dallas was forced to start Kellen Moore at quarterback. One big thing to keep an eye on in this game is whether or not Ezekiel Elliott will play. The NFL has asked the Fifth Circuit to, which is two days before this game is set to be played. Although it’s unlikely Elliott would miss this game, there’s been so many twists and turns in this case that it’s hard to say for sure what might happen.
Steelers (5-2) at Lions (3-3)
Opening line: Steelers, -3 points
Although you’ve probably heard about Andy Reid’s amazing record after a bye week (16-2 in 18 seasons), the Lions are starting a little run of their own. Since 2012, the Lions are 5-0 straight-up after a bye and 5-0 ATS. Basically, they’ve been unbeatable. Of course, that bye stuff might not matter because the Lions will be playing a quarterback they’ve never beaten. Not only is Ben Roethlisberger 3-0 all-time against the Lions, but Detroit hasn’t beaten the Steelers since 1998.
Broncos (3-3) at Chiefs (5-2)
Opening line: Chiefs, -7 points
Both teams will be coming into this game on a two-game losing streak, so the good news for the Chiefs and Broncos here is that someone almost has to win (unless they tie). The good news for the Chiefs is that they’ll be hosting a Broncos team that’s 0-2 on the road this year both straight up and ATS, and in those two road games, the Broncos have been outscored 47-16. The Chiefs have won three in row in this series, and have almost been unbeatable against AFC West teams lately. Since the beginning of last season, the Chiefs are 7-1 straight up against AFC West teams and 6-2 ATS. The Chiefs also have an ATS record of 5-2 this year, which is tied for the second best mark in the NFL (The Broncos are 2-3-1).